By Mint Julep

Behave Yourself 1921 Kentucky Derby Winner

behave yourself 1921 kentucky derby winner

Travel back to the 1921 Kentucky Derby and experience the surprising win of Behave Yourself, a dark horse that defied expectations to triumph at Churchill Downs. Discover the exciting race outcomes, memorable upsets, and the lasting impact of this underdog’s victory that still fascinates fans with its story of determination and success.

Behave Yourself’s Victory at the 1921 Kentucky Derby

On May 7, 1921, all eyes were on the Kentucky Derby as Behave Yourself amazed everyone by dashing past the finish line first. Despite doubts and rumors about his chances, this unexpected contender won over hearts and exceeded expectations.

When the race kicked off at Churchill Downs that decisive day, key horses like Grey Lag and Paul Jones had to pull out, leaving bettors shocked. The absence of these top favorites only added to the excitement surrounding this legendary event, creating a perfect setup for an underdog’s rise to fame.

Jockey Charles Thompson expertly steered Behave Yourself through a tough field of rivals with impressive skill and determination on the track. His teamwork with trainer Herbert J. Thompson turned out to be a winning formula that propelled them straight into racing history books.

Behave Yourself’s triumph meant more than just winning a horse race; it embodied resilience, persistence, and unwavering spirit in challenging circumstances. This surprising victory served as a powerful reminder that in both racing and life itself, underdogs can overcome obstacles to claim their moment of glory.

Though many years have gone by since Behave Yourself made his mark on Derby lore in 1921, his legacy remains an inspiring testament to bravery and perseverance against all odds. In every hoofbeat echoing down memory lane from that spring day lies an enduring lesson: sometimes, it takes an unexpected hero to steal the spotlight and leave behind an unforgettable legacy in history’s rich tapestry.

Unveiling the Winning Horse: Behave Yourself

Edward R. Bradley owned and bred Behave Yourself, a talented horse who excelled on the dirt track of Churchill Downs in the 1921 Kentucky Derby. The horse’s victory in the race, ridden skillfully by Charles Thompson, secured its place as a celebrated champion in racing history.

Leading up to the 1921 Kentucky Derby, there was much excitement among fans and bettors. Unexpected changes occurred when key contenders like Morvich had to withdraw due to injuries. This opened up opportunities for underdogs such as Behave Yourself to surprise everyone with their performance at Churchill Downs.

Behave Yourself’s win wasn’t just about being fast; it also showcased resilience and determination. In horse racing, where outcomes can change rapidly, this dark horse demonstrated that dedication and perseverance can sometimes outshine pedigree or popularity.

The story of Behave Yourself remains an inspiring tale of triumph against all odds—a reminder that even those considered unlikely winners in Thoroughbred racing can emerge victorious and make a lasting impact on history. It continues to captivate fans around the world with its message of overcoming challenges and defying expectations in pursuit of success.

The Pros & Cons of Underdog Triumphs


  1. Inspires hope and motivation, giving a boost to your spirits

  2. Shows the strength in not giving up, motivating you to keep going

  3. Makes history come alive with unforgettable moments

  4. Encourages those facing challenges to persevere and never give up

  5. Pushes you beyond boundaries by defying norms

  6. Sparks joy and keeps things interesting with surprises


  1. Favored competitors or fans might end up feeling disappointed

  2. People may view it as a fluke instead of recognizing true talent

  3. It can overshadow the achievements of consistent winners

  4. You will feel pressure to keep succeeding after your initial triumph

  5. The underdog might become overconfident or complacent

  6. Some people who prefer predictable outcomes could push back

Race Results and Payouts

The 1921 Kentucky Derby was set abuzz by Behave Yourself’s unexpected triumph, leaving everyone in shock. With an impressive finish time of 2:04.20, this underestimated horse defied all expectations and surged ahead to clinch victory at the renowned Churchill Downs track, securing its place in Thoroughbred racing history. Spectators were amazed as Behave Yourself crossed the finish line first, surprising even seasoned bettors and casual fans with its sudden success.

Black Servant’s close second-place finish added more excitement to the race outcome, keeping viewers guessing until the very end. Amidst tough competition from contenders like Tryster, Careful, and Coyne, Prudery managed to secure third place – highlighting the nail-biting twists and turns of that memorable Kentucky Derby. The payouts reflected Behave Yourself’s remarkable win by rewarding believers in this dark horse with a generous $19.30 for win bets and contributing to a total purse of $38,450 – showcasing resilience against all odds.

Looking back on Behave Yourself’s epic victory serves as a timeless lesson that surprises can happen anytime in horseracing – just like in life itself. This iconic moment continues to inspire generations of racing enthusiasts about determination prevailing over mere favoritism or pedigree alone. Like an undiscovered treasure among rocks or an unlikely hero conquering strong adversaries; Behave Yourself remains a beacon of hope for underdogs chasing big dreams amidst towering competitors at Churchill Downs or beyond.

Notable Scratches and Absentees

Leading up to the start of the 1921 Kentucky Derby, horses like Billy Barton, Grey Lag, and Firebrand were pulled out from competing in the race for different reasons. Their absence made things more exciting and gave other contenders a chance to win.

This unexpected twist had racing fans anxious, wondering how these last-minute changes would affect one of America’s top horse races. With those strong competitors missing, there was a sense of mystery hanging over Churchill Downs that day, paving the way for an intense competition full of surprises.

As people eagerly awaited the action at Churchill Downs, little did they know that Behave Yourself would pull off a stunning victory against all odds. The underdog’s surprising win not only amazed many but also solidified its spot in history as a symbol of determination and exceeding expectations in Thoroughbred racing.

Thrilling Race Results: Top Finishers and Times

Finished Post Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Time / behind
1st 1 Behave Yourself Charles Thompson Herbert J. Thompson Edward R. Bradley 2:04.20
2nd 7 Black Servant Lawrence Lyke Herbert J. Thompson Edward R. Bradley Head
3rd 2 Prudery Clarence Kummer James G. Rowe Sr. Harry Payne Whitney 6
4th 10 Tryster Frank Coltiletti James G. Rowe Sr. Harry Payne Whitney 1/2
5th 3 Careful Frank Keogh Eugene Wayland Walter J. Salmon Sr. 4
6th 5 Coyne Mack Garner Charles C. Van Meter Harned Bros. 4
7th 4 Leonardo II Andy Schuttinger Kimball Patterson Xalapa Farm Stable 1
8th 12 Uncle Velo Earl Pool Will Perkins George F. Baker 1/2
9th 11 Bon Homme Clifford Robinson Kimball Patterson Xalapa Farm Stable 2
10th 6 Planet Henry King Will Buford Hal Price Headley 6
11th 8 Star Voter Lavelle Ensor Henry McDaniel J. K. L. Ross 5
12th 9 Muskallonge George W. Carroll Albert B. "Alex" Gordon H. C. "Bud" Fisher 1

Historical Context of the 1921 Kentucky Derby

The 1921 Kentucky Derby was an exciting event that drew huge crowds eager to see the action unfold at Churchill Downs. As the horses raced down the track, there was a sense of anticipation in the air, creating an atmosphere filled with suspense. Among whispers and gasps from spectators, Behave Yourself suddenly surged ahead with a burst of speed that caught even experienced bettors off guard.

Several notable contenders had to pull out before the race, adding more intrigue to this historic event. With strong competitors sidelined due to unexpected issues, fans had to rethink their predictions as uncertainty hovered over the outcome. Behave Yourself’s win represented more than just a victory on turf; it showed resilience and determination against all odds—a true underdog story that resonated deeply with both supporters and critics.

Looking back on Behave Yourself’s triumph at the 1921 Kentucky Derby highlights how unpredictable yet enduring Thoroughbred racing history can be. Like finding a hidden treasure in rough terrain, his victory continues to shine brightly through time—an ongoing legacy reminding us how quickly things can change in horse racing circles. The memories of that significant day still echo throughout Churchill Downs’ halls today, emphasizing the timeless fascination of watching unexpected winners charge towards glory beyond anyone’s expectations.

Impact on Owner Edward R. Bradley

In the early 1900s, Edward R. Bradley was a major player in horse racing. He made things exciting at the 1921 Kentucky Derby by entering two horses he owned: Behave Yourself and Black Servant. Everyone had high hopes, but fate threw a curveball when Behave Yourself won while Black Servant couldn’t race because of an injury. This unexpected twist showed how Bradley could handle the ups and downs of Thoroughbred racing.

The different outcomes for Edward R. Bradley with Behave Yourself’s win and Black Servant’s absence highlighted how owners can go through crazy highs and lows in this sport. Even with lots of planning, things can change fast on race day, showing both the joy of winning and pain of setbacks all at once.

Behave Yourself’s big win at Churchill Downs not only proved that Edward R. Bradley was great at owning horses but also showed his dedication to breeding top-notch horses through smart decisions about their care and training methods. The victory made Behave Yourself famous in Kentucky Derby history books while putting Bradley among those who beat tough odds.

Looking back, it’s amazing to see how one moment – like when Black Servant couldn’t race – can totally change fates and stories unexpectedly. Edward R. Bradley handled these challenges well, proving that success in Thoroughbred racing isn’t just about winning races but also learning from tough times along the way.

Thinking about Edward R.Bradley’s experience at the 1921 Kentucky Derby reminds us that even during uncertain times there are moments where underdogs like Behave Yourself become champions – leaving behind tales filled with bravery, persistence, and never giving up against any obstacles.

Legendary Tales of Derby Triumphs

  1. Exciting Stories of Derby Triumphs: The Unlikely Win of Behave Yourself in the 1921 Kentucky Derby

  2. Against the Odds: In the 1921 Kentucky Derby, Behave Yourself was seen as an underdog with odds of 10-Despite this, the colt pulled off a surprising victory, showing that anything can happen in horse racing.

  3. First Victory for Jockey: The triumph at the 1921 Kentucky Derby wasn't just special for Behave Yourself but also for his jockey, Charles Thompson. It marked Thompson's first and only win at this prestigious event, making it even more significant.

  4. Trainer's Success Story: Herbert J. Thompson trained Behave Yourself and had previously won the Kentucky Derby in 1908 with Stone Street. The victory in 1921 further solidified Thompson's reputation as a skilled trainer in horse racing.

  5. Family Ties: Marathon sired Behave Yourself – a well-known racehorse recognized for stamina and speed. This lineage connects to other notable horses, emphasizing how genetics play a crucial role in racehorses' success.

  6. Lasting Impact: While not as famous as some other winners, like Secretariat or American Pharoah, Behave Yourself's unexpected win is still celebrated today from his victory back in 1921 – reminding us all of horse racing’s thrilling unpredictability that keeps fans on their toes!

Jockey Charles Thompson’s Winning Ride

Charles Thompson skillfully rode Behave Yourself during the intense 1921 Kentucky Derby, showcasing his expertise as a talented jockey who excels at leading horses to victory in high-stakes races like this iconic event held annually at Churchill Downs. The race had some key contenders drop out, such as Bubbling Over and Miss Joy, creating an opportunity for unexpected outcomes. Despite the uncertainty, Behave Yourself emerged as a dark horse poised to defy odds and steal the spotlight.

Thompson’s strategic moves on Behave Yourself kept them competitive throughout the challenging 1.25-mile race by deftly navigating through a crowded field with finesse and determination. As they raced towards glory down the homestretch, spectators marveled at how Behave Yourself surged ahead with unwavering speed and stamina, leaving seasoned bettors astonished. This moment captured the essence of Thoroughbred racing – where sheer determination and skill can surpass even favored competitors.

Behave Yourself’s surprising triumph not only solidified Charles Thompson’s reputation as an accomplished jockey but also secured his place in Kentucky Derby history forever. This underdog tale resonated deeply with fans who witnessed an unlikely winner exceed all expectations on that memorable day in May 1921. The excitement of that thrilling race still echoes through time, reminding us that anything is achievable at Churchill Downs.

In light of fate’s unpredictable nature, Behave Yourself’s remarkable win serves as a powerful reminder that true champions are born when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Looking back now, Jockey Charles Thompson’s victorious ride aboard Behave Yourself stands as a lasting testament to perseverance and resilience against all odds – proving once more that sometimes it takes an underdog story to truly captivate our hearts amidst cheering crowds and thundering hooves on Derby Day.”

Trainer Herbert J. Thompson’s Role in Victory

Trainer Herbert J. Thompson’s incredible attention to detail and unwavering commitment were evident in Behave Yourself’s exceptional performance at the 1921 Kentucky Derby, a race that had spectators on the edge of their seats with its unexpected twists and turns. The shuffled lineup due to scratches saw many expected favorites dropping out, creating an opportunity for an underdog like Behave Yourself to shine. Thanks to Thompson’s meticulous planning, his horse was well-prepared to take advantage of these changes, displaying both impressive horsemanship skills and strategic thinking.

In a field full of uncertainty caused by unexpected withdrawals from top contenders, Trainer Herbert J. Thompson remained confident in Behave Yourself’s ability to defy the odds and triumph at Churchill Downs. The absence of strong rivals added intrigue to this historic race, setting the stage for a dramatic upset that would be remembered as one of racing’s most unforgettable moments. With tension mounting and excitement building up, Thompson guided his horse skillfully towards an unlikely victory against all expectations.

Without being constrained by norms or past achievements, Trainer Herbert J. Thompson led Behave Yourself towards success at the 1921 Kentucky Derby through sheer determination and expert guidance honed over years in equestrian sports. In a timeless tale made fresh with every retelling, this unlikely pair challenged conventional wisdom and left their mark on Thoroughbred racing history with bold strokes of brilliance amidst swirling uncertainties – proving once more that true champions are not only born from talent but also shaped by perseverance, resilience, and an unyielding spirit even when confronting formidable obstacles head-on.

Enduring Legacy of Behave Yourself’s Win

The surprising win of Behave Yourself at the 1921 Kentucky Derby has become a lasting part of horse racing history. Despite unexpected changes before the race, Behave Yourself took advantage of the opportunity and shined on that important day. Even though facing tough competition, this underdog raced towards victory with a spirit that excited spectators and motivated future generations.

The excitement of Thoroughbred racing was clear as Behave Yourself crossed the finish line first, shocking many who didn’t believe in him because of his previous lackluster performances. The ups and downs of fate during this historic event highlighted the importance of sportsmanship and determination in both horse athletes and their human partners.

Behave Yourself’s win isn’t just about winning a race; it tells a timeless story about overcoming challenges against all expectations. In a sport where favorites usually steal attention, this unexpected contender showed that boldness and determination can lead to success. The impact of Behave Yourself’s amazing victory still resonates today, showing us how true champions can come from unlikely places when courage meets opportunity on legendary racetracks.

Behave Yourself’s legacy is an inspiration for dreamers everywhere—a reminder that even through uncertainty, bravery combined with persistence can bring about triumphant results beyond belief. Looking back at that significant day in 1921 when an improbable hero rewrote history, let’s celebrate not only the joy of winning but also the unbeatable spirit found within every step taken towards greatness on tracks filled with stories waiting to be retold forevermore.


1. What were the circumstances leading to Behave Yourself's unexpected victory at the 1921 Kentucky Derby?

The 1921 Kentucky Derby saw an unexpected win by Behave Yourself, who capitalized on the absence of favored horses due to scratches. This underdog took advantage of the unpredictable situation to shine and make its mark in Thoroughbred racing history.

2. How did notable scratches among favored horses impact the dynamics of the 1921 Kentucky Derby?

In the 1921 Kentucky Derby, some top horses got scratched before the race, making it more uncertain. This gave Behave Yourself a chance to win unexpectedly. It showed how underdogs can still triumph in horse racing history, which is pretty cool.

3. What legacy did Behave Yourself leave in the history of Thoroughbred racing following his triumph at the 1921 Kentucky Derby?

The surprising win of Behave Yourself in the 1921 Kentucky Derby has continued to inspire underdogs and add excitement to the world of Thoroughbred racing.

4. How did Behave Yourself's victory exemplify the theme of underdogs rising to glory in horse racing lore?

The 1921 Kentucky Derby was won by Behave Yourself, showcasing the classic tale of unexpected winners in horse racing history. Despite facing tough competition and surprising twists during the race, Behave Yourself managed to exceed expectations and claim victory.

5. Who were some of the key contenders that were scratched from competing in the 1921 Kentucky Derby, paving the way for Behave Yourself's triumph?

In 1921, the Kentucky Derby had some big names drop out like Grey Lag, Audacious, and Morvich. This made way for Behave Yourself to swoop in and pull off a surprising win that still gets talked about in horse racing history books.

6. In what ways did Behave Yourself's victory at the 1921 Kentucky Derby defy expectations and captivate fans of horse racing worldwide?

Behave Yourself won the 1921 Kentucky Derby against all odds, surprising fans around the globe. Despite facing significant challenges and being considered an underdog, this victory resonated with audiences as a symbol of how unpredictable events can lead to unexpected triumphs in Thoroughbred racing history.